Build trails, council told
MANY kilometres of new trails and paths could be built around the region, improving safety and attracting more tourists.
South Gippsland Shire Council has 90 projects to consider, recommended in the revised Paths and Trails Strategy.
That plan advises projects for towns across the shire and was reviewed by consultant Andrew Nixon, a former council officer.
In briefing councillors recently, he said little action has come about as a result of the original strategy, undertaken 10 years ago.
“If VicRoads upgrades tourist roads and puts in sealed shoulders, that would encourage people to ride from Cranbourne to Sandy Point,” he said.
Linking the Great Southern Rail Trail between Koonwarra and Meeniyan would also return tourism benefits.
But the cost would be enormous, with the highway needing to be realigned or three bridges built across the valley, at a cost of $10 million. The project is on VicRoads’ list of works.
Mr Nixon suggested more paths and safer intersections to encourage people to walk, and proposed a ‘transit hub’ in Leongatha to allow cyclist commuters to store bicycles.
He suggested shoulders on highways and other main roads be widened to encourage more people to cycle, such as between Korumburra and Leongatha, and also on the Strzelecki Highway.
He found few children were cycling to and from school, as they had to carry laptop computers or travel considerable distances, often on narrow, gravel roads.
Mr Nixon also mentioned a group in the City of Casey area was pushing for a rail trail between Nyora and Cranbourne, along the former rail line.
“I can’t emphasise enough the potential value, recreationally and economically, of that spinal link that could run from the Cranbourne railway station eventually all the way to Yarram,” he said.
Mayor Cr Jim Fawcett said: “I just hope that we can do better than 11 per cent of the plan, if we adopt it.”
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